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Delbonis Stuns Federer, Faces Fognini For Title

Hamburg, Germany

World No. 114 Federico Delbonis reached his first ATP World Tour final in dramatic fashion on Saturday in Hamburg, knocking out top seed and four-time former champion Roger Federer 7-6(7), 7-6(4) in the semi-finals of the bet-at-home Open - German Tennis Championships.

"I feel like I'm dreaming," said Delbonis."My key was to enjoy the match and enjoy playing this kind of player, because he's the best of all time."

Delbonis is the third qualifier to reach an ATP World Tour final this year. The 22 year old saved two match points as he upended Fernando Verdasco in the quarter-finals to earn a stab at Federer and recorded the first Top 10 win of his career against the Swiss in one hour and 53 minutes.

Debuting a larger racquet frame this week, Federer had twice been pushed to three sets on his way to the semi-finals. The Swiss squandered an early break lead against Delbonis and saved two set points in the 12th game to force a tie-break. Federer was unable to convert his only set point at 6-5 and Delbonis took his fourth opportunity with a smash winner.

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Federer was put under pressure early in the second set by the left-handed Delbonis, saving three break points in his opening service game and another in the sixth game. The Basel native had one chance to break Delbonis in the seventh game as the Argentine’s composure slipped slightly and he let in costly unforced errors. Federer was denied as Delbonis closed down the net, though, and again came out on the wrong side in the tie-break. Successive groundstroke errors from Federer at 4-4 gave Delbonis two match points and he converted his first as Federer netted a forehand.

It is the second time this season that Federer has lost to an opponent ranked outside the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, having seen his Grand Slam semi-final run ended at Wimbledon with defeat to the No. 116-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round.

FogniniIn the final, Delbonis will face the in-form Fabio Fognini for the first time. Fognini is attempting to win his second ATP World Tour title in as many weeks after sweeping into the final with a 6-4, 7-6(1) victory over third seed Nicolas Almagro in one hour and 49 minutes.

Fognini is on a nine-match winning streak, having won his first ATP World Tour trophy last week at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (d. Kohlschreiber). The 26 year old has a 1-2 record in ATP World Tour finals, finishing runner-up at St. Petersburg and Bucharest in 2012.

"Right now I'm really happy because he played really good," said Fognini. "[It's my] second final, first here in Hamburg, first at a 500 [tournament], a big tournament. So, it’s special. At the same time I have to look at tomorrow because I have another chance, another final. I will try to do my best and why not try to win the tournament.

"I will try to stay focussed on my game because at the moment it is working really good. I’m really confident and I’m really focussed, especially on the important points. I know what I have to do and what not."

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